Friday, 23 April 2021 19:10

NY Lawmakers Pass Bill Requiring Employers to Take Steps to Protect Workers from Diseases

Written by Steve Bittenbender, The Center Square


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A bill passed by the New York state lawmakers on April 20 that seeks to prevent workers from being exposed to airborne diseases is now headed to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, but while labor advocates hailed its passage, business groups fear it will harm small businesses across the state.

On April 21, The Alliance for a Greater New York (ALIGN) held a news conference hailing the passage of the NY Hero Act and called for the governor to sign the bill into law. If he does, New York would be the first state in the country to require companies to protect workers.

Cuomo has issued emergency regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic that have covered some industries, but lawmakers pointed out it does not cover all workers.


“We know that many people died over the last year because of unsafe working environments,” said state Sen. Michael Gianaris, D-Queens. “Employers were not taking basic precautions as it relates to PPE usage, social distancing, air filtration, all the things that we know are very common tactics that we use to avoid the spread of COVID right now.”


Gianaris, the deputy majority leader, served as the bill sponsor in the Senate. The bill passed that chamber by a 46-16 vote March 1, and an amended version passed again April 20 by a 46-17 margin.


Also on April 20, the state Assembly passed its version, sponsored by Assemblywoman Karines Reyes, D-Bronx, on a 95-55 vote.


ALIGN Executive Director Maritza Silva-Farrell on April 21 said the votes were a cause to celebrate.


“This is a moment for all of us to take and say power of the people can win when...

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